Now we journey back to April to one of my favourite cities for my 3rd Boston Marathon. I have been calling “marathon” my mid-life crisis! I am really retired from profession triathlon but you can’t expect me to be able to quench my type A personality with yoga or an elliptical machine – so I swim and bike for fitness and run hard for the endorphins. I really love to run fast and hard so I keep the fun by running 3 days a week – one hill session, one flatter interval session (road or treadmill) and one long run. Occasionally, I will do the hills off of a bike ride to build strength and to get even more endorphins!!
The wonderful thing about Boston this year was that I got to run with our LBT athletes who qualified – Connie, Ivan and Rob – and we adopted JT who also qualified. Liz and Denise were our official cheerleaders and supporters.
And adding to the fun was my reunion with new mom Kim Loeffler who was racing her first marathon back! Kim and I used to race together as pro triathletes and then I coached Kim for several years before her beautiful little girl was born.
I was invited to run with the elite masters runners at the front of the race. That of course included the real elite athletes – the Kenyans – and US hopeful Shalene Flanagan and Canada’s best Lanni Marchant. The pace was furious from the start and since their goal is sub 2:20 and my goal is 2:45, I had to be super cautious over the first 5 km. I started aggressively keeping a few master’s women close-by but I felt as if I was already racing in the first 5k and that is just too soon to be working that hard. I settled into pace to run around 2:45 and I felt fantastic. To be honest, I did not know what I could run. I don’t train with a Garmin – I never have and I never will. I prefer to run by effort and feel and I really don’t want to put that sort of pressure on myself in my “golden years”. This really is fun for me and a Garmin is just not fun. I had been running faster than 2013 when I ran 2:49, so I figured that 2:45 was do-able.
I felt amazing through to Heartbreak Hill and my quads, which are normally smashed at this stage from all of the downhill running, felt fantastic. I was ready to hammer the last 6 miles with happy quads .. but then my feet started to cramp. My arches were in knots and when my big toe hit the ground, my feet would rebel. I tried to problem solve but there was little I could do except be ready to collapse if my feet gave out. I ruptured the flexor hallucis longus in 2013 – that is the tendon that bends the tip of the big toe. And so with my big toe not bending, the rest of my foot has to work very hard to push off. And couple that with the fact that I don’t really do any long runs at this race pace and my feet have every right to be grumpy!
With about 1 mile to go, Rachel from Australia, a masters runner who beat me in 2013 by 30 sec, came alongside. I called on every mental muscle to will my feet and legs to turnover faster and to get to that darn finish line in front! And I did – I finished in 2:47 and 5th master’s female! It was a great, great day – I loved it!